Imagining this beautiful view while on a road trip! Don’t dream; it’s true!
Images: James Hardin (L); Hailey Beach Resort (R) Facebook pages
To anyone with a “wanderlust gene,“
the idea of road trips is like a dose of adrenaline injected into their veins, making them want to hit the road as soon as possible. The good news is that if you’re heading north, there are a lot of North Luzon travel destinations
worth taking for local and international tourists alike.
For your summer adventures this year, if you are coming from Manila, a few hours of travel to Central and Northern Luzon will give you many sights or tourist attractions and food trip venues, not to mention the fantastic views along the way. Here are some North Luzon travel destinations you can include in your itinerary.
1. First on our list of North Luzon travel destinations is Clark, a former American air base in Angeles, Pampanga, which was turned into the Clark Freeport Zone after the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions perfect stopover if you’re having a road trip to North. It is now called Clark Special Economic Zone and houses several hotels, restaurants, duty-free shops, casinos, and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.
Enjoy a summer ride at Clark Freeport Zone.
Image: Clark Development Corporation Facebook page
After a two-hour road trip to the north, it is best to relax and unwind in Clark by taking a dip at the Fontana Water Park. The resort has a recreational water theme park, hot spring and lagoon pools, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It operates daily from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Clark Nature Park is another North Luzon travel destination where you can do fun activities such as horseback riding, go-karting, wall climbing, and zipline adventure for your summer adventure this year. And, of course, you should not miss a food side trip to nearby Angeles City, the country’s Culinary Capital. There are a lot of restaurants offering local and international cuisine that will surely satisfy your palates.
2. Subic is now an ideal road trip to the North since It can now be conveniently reached from Manila via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) on a three-hour drive passing by a serene view of mountains and farmlands.
Like Clark, Subic is also a perfect North Luzon travel destination and was a former US naval base turned into a free port zone.
Image: Subic Bay Freeport Zone Facebook page
Your travel to Subic would only be complete with going to this North Luzon travel destination, the Ocean Adventure, and Zoobic Safari. At Ocean Adventure, you see dolphins, sea lions, and other marine creatures in various animal shows and aquariums, perfect for your summer adventure this year.
If you are the more adventurous type, go to this North Luzon travel destination, the Zoobic Safari is definitely for you. There you get to see exotic, wild, and semi-domesticated animals. The highlight of your trip is an exhilarating Safari jeep ride while being chased by tigers.
3. Next on our list of North Luzon travel destinations is a surfing haven, and San Juan, La Union is considered the surfing capital of the north.
Surfing beach resort in San Juan, La Union
Image: Jibo Barroga
San Juan, La Union, is the closest surf spot in Manila at four to five hours of travel via NLEX, SCTEX, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). In Barangay Urbiztondo, an array of accommodations, restaurants, surfing tutorials, and surfboard rentals can be found along the beach. Accommodations vary from high-end villas to lodges and backpacker hostels. The best time to surf is from July to October. For this summer adventure, Surfing lessons cost P500 to P800.
4. Next on our list of North Luzon travel destinations is Baler. It is located northeast of Manila in a five- to six-hour land travel via a mix of rough, narrow, and zigzag roads in mountainous terrain, an ideal road trip to the north. When you say Baler, the first thing summer adventure comes to mind is surfing.
But the view of nature is a spectacle to watch while on the road!
Image: James Jardin
Baler’s Sabang Beach is known as a summer adventure to surfing enthusiasts as a place to go and ride the waves. It is a two-kilometer beach stretch facing east, towards the Pacific Ocean. September to February is Baler's surfing season. But aside from surfing, you can also go on a trek passing by a rocky river and a mossy trail to a picturesque Ditumabo Mother Falls.
Baler also has its historical and heritage places like the Museo de Baler and Church of Baler, as well as other sight-seeing destinations like the Ermita Hill and the Rock Formations in Diguisit Beach, perfect North Luzon road trip travel destination.
5. On the road trip to the north, you will traverse the zigzag road of Kennon, Naguillan, or Marcos Highway while enjoying the view of pine tree-covered mountains and the cool, crisp air. Baguio is a six- to seven-hour drive away from Manila. Tons of tourists flock to the city during summer to beat the heat; this North Luzon travel destination is the Summer Capital of the Philippines.
Enjoy the Valley of Colors while you take the zigzag road in Baguio City!
Baguio has numerous tourist spots, but one summer adventure destination that has recently become famous is the BenCab Museum, which houses the art collection and works of National Artist Ben Cabrera. There are also many dining places you shouldn’t miss in Baguio, such as the Hill Station, Cafe By the Ruins, and Forest House, among others. Also, you shouldn’t leave this North Luzon travel destination without experiencing the night market and shopping for quality, second-hand items at Baguio's ukay-ukay stores along Session Road.
6. After an almost eight-hour road trip north from Manila, you'll reach Vigan, Ilocos Sur, for a heritage city tour. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan boasts of its preserved historical houses with unique architecture and design.
Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Image: Vigan City PH Facebook page
Walking along the cobblestone streets and past the horse-drawn carriages of Calle Crisologo is like traveling back in the Spanish era. Along Calle Crisologo are shops for souvenirs and authentic Vigan treats like the chichacorn, longganisa, bagnet, and kalamay. Ending the Vigan tour with a taste of the great empanada from the local stores in Plaza Salcedo adds a happy finale to your experience.
7. Farthest to the North Luzon travel destination is Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, a 14-hour drive from Manila. While on the road, you can stop sightseeing and have photo ops at the Bangui Windmills, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, and Cape Bojeador in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
Bangui Windmills is one of the tourist spots to see before you reach Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
For your road trip to the north, zigzag roads going to Pagudpud give you a view of the crystal-blue waters of the West Philippine Sea. Swimming at the white-sand beaches of Saud Beach and Blue Lagoon, which has a more scenic view, is the perfect way to cap off your summer adventure experience up north.
There you have it! But some final things to remember before going to a North Luzon travel destination. When traveling in a private vehicle, know your route beforehand so you don’t waste time finding your location while on the road. While taking public transportation is always an option, it is best to check bus schedules and fares ahead of time. Plan your budget wisely before a road trip to the north, as some places are very budget-friendly if you know how and where to spend. Finally, put safety first when you plan on having a North Luzon travel destination, whether traveling with a group or going solo.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and satisfy your wanderlust in a fun and exciting North Luzon travel destination.
Stay safe as you travel! Make sure to follow your destination’s social distancing protocols and travel guidelines, and observe health precautions wherever you go. Have a great trip!
This article was initially published in Yoorekka on February 21, 2016.
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